Create or change a presentation’s handout

You can use the Handout Master tab to edit the appearance of presentation handouts, including the layout, headers and footers, and background. Changes made to the handout master appear on all pages of the printed handout.

To see the handout options, click the View tab, and then click Handout Master in the Master Views group.

Shows View Handout master in PowerPoint

This opens the Handout Master view.

Shows the handout master ribbon in PowerPoint

Change the layout

In the Page Setup group, you can specify the number and layout of slides to print on each page, change the orientation of handouts, and set the slide size. You can use settings on all three menus—Handout Orientation, Slide Size, and Slides Per Page—to customize your layout exactly how you want it.

Page Setup group

Set the slides per page

  1. Click Slides Per Page.

    Slides Per Page options
  2. Choose a layout option from the thumbnail images.

Tip: The 3 Slides option includes lines that your audience can use to take notes.

Set the orientation

  • Click Handout Orientation, and then choose Portrait or Landscape.

    Handout Orientation menu

Set the slide size

  • Click Slide Size, and then choose one of the options.

    Slide Size menu

    When PowerPoint is unable to automatically scale your content, it will prompt you with a message. Select Maximize to increase the size of your slide content when you are scaling to a larger slide size. (Choosing this option could result in your content not fitting on the slide. ) Select Ensure Fit to decrease the size of your content. (This could make your content appear smaller, but you’ll be able to see all content on your slide.)

    Slide size scaling message


    • To set a custom size, including width, height, slide numbering, and orientation of slides and notes, click Custom Slide Size on the Slide Size menu.

    • To make sure your slides will print the way you want, preview your handouts before printing.

Change headers and footers

You can adjust headers and footers in the Placeholders group. By default, the placeholders appear in the top and bottom corners of the Handout Master page.

Shows the PowerPoint Handout Master

Click in a text placeholder (Header, Footer, Date, or Page Number) to make changes to it. You can do things like:

  • Edit or add content in the text placeholders: In addition to text changes, you can use commands on the Insert tab to add graphics or other content types.

  • Format text shape and appearance: Select the text and use the options on the Format tab to make changes.

  • Change text placeholders: Drag a text placeholder to move it, and use the text box sizing handles to change its size.

  • Turn placeholders on or off: Clear the check box of the placeholder (Header, Date, Footer, or Page Number) that you want to turn off.

Change the background

You can change the background of your handouts (but not the background of your slides) in the Background group. You can also quickly change the font for all for your handout text at once, and you can apply special borders and visual effects.

Background options

  • Colors: Choose a color theme for your handout background. You may have to click Background Styles and choose an option to see it applied.

  • Background Styles: Choose a style option from the list. The colors displayed depend on your choice in the Colors list.

    Tip: Click Format Background at the bottom of the Background Styles list to open the Format pane and choose from more background options, such as advanced fill settings, artistic effects, and color and image settings.

  • Fonts: Choose a font from the list to quickly apply it to all headers and footers.

  • Effects: Choose an effect from the list to apply a theme effects, with features including shadows, reflections, lines, fills, and more.

Preview your handouts

To preview the way your handout will look when printed:

  1. Click File > Print.

  2. Go to Settings > Full Page Slides, and then under Handouts, select the layout you want and look at the preview pane. Click the File tab again to return to your previous view.

For more information about working with PowerPoint handouts, see:

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